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The Boat (1973)

por Lothar-Günther Buchheim

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1,0692118,742 (4.2)38
Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama. It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic. Their targets now travel in convoys, fiercely guarded by Royal Navy destroyers, and when contact is finally made the hunters rapidly become the hunted. As the U-boat is forced to hide beneath the surface of the sea a cat-and-mouse game begins, where the increasing claustrophobia of the submarine becomes an enemy just as frightening as the depth charges that explode around it. Of the 40,000 men who served on German submarines, 30,000 never returned. Written by a survivor of the U-boat fleet, DAS BOOT is a psychological drama merciless in its intensity, and a classic novel of the Second World War.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
It is a long book, with long stretches where nothing is happening, interspersed with short sections of terror and action. This is by design. The book makes you feel the boredom of weeks and weeks out at sea when nothing is happening, but also the visceral horror of bring trapped in a metal tube at the bottom of the ocean.

This style of writing is a bit crude, but effective. A better author might have evoked the concepts of boredom and terror without actually being boring. But it works. It is only boring in places that are supposed to be boring, and vividly communicates the emotions of life in a U-boat.

In the end, I can hardly imagine a worse fate than having to live and work in a U-boat in WW2. And a book that manages to evoke this much dread, is a good one to me. ( )
  bastibe | Apr 15, 2023 |
While this is a great story, I think the movie is better. Often, a big advantage of books over the movie is that the narration lets you inside the characters' minds. The narrator in this book, though, is thoroughly unconvincing as a character. Still, the narration is very cinematic, and you do get a lot more facts about U-boats than could be conveyed in the movie.

> The designers of our boat have dispensed with the storage rooms that on surface vessels are normally many and capacious—just as they have dispensed with washrooms. They have simply built their machines into this war tube and have persuaded themselves that, given the most sophisticated deployment of the jungle of pipes and huge propulsion engines, there would necessarily be enough nooks and crannies left over for the crew.

> If the Old Man decides to fire, the Chief must flood at once to make up for the weight of the torpedo. Otherwise the boat will rise. A torpedo weighs three thousand pounds—so an equivalent weight of water has to be taken on for each one launched.

> The small depth charges dropped by airplanes weigh about 150 pounds, the destroyer bombs about 500 pounds. At a depth of 350 feet, the lethal radius extends about 275 to 350 feet.

> The most dangerous bombs for the boat are those that explode diagonally under the keel, because the underside has the largest number of flanges and outboard plugs. The deeper you go, the smaller the lethal radius: the water pressure, which is itself a threat at such depths because of the overloading on the seams, also limits the effective radius of the bombs—at 130, it’s perhaps 160 feet.

> The Chief is bending forward toward the hydroplane operators. His face is thrown into unnatural relief against the dark background, like that of an actor lit only by the footlights, every bone emphasized by dark lines or shadow. His hand looks waxen. There’s a black streak across his right cheek. He’s narrowed his eyes as if dazzled by the light.

> The excruciating tension exerted on the steel skin is torture to me: I feel as if my own skin were being stretched. Another crack resounds, as loud as a rifle shot, and my scalp twitches. Under this insane pressure our hull is as fragile as an eggshell.

> They have to be running at full speed before they fire. If those bastards could use their Asdic to sneak up right over the boat before dropping their cans, this cat and mouse game would have been over long ago. As it is, they have to attack at high speed so as not to blow themselves out of the water when their bombs go off.

> I concentrate on imagining how one could reproduce all of this, this entire scene, in papier mâché for the stage. Everything very exact. Scale one to one. It would be easy: just remove the port wall—that’s where the audience would sit. No elevated stage. Everything face to face. Direct view of the hydroplane station. Shift the sky periscope up front to give the whole thing perspective. I fix in my mind the positions and attitudes of the actors: the Old Man leaning against the periscope shaft—solid, heavy-set, in his ragged sweater, his furlined vest, his salt-flecked boots with their thick cork soles, the stubborn tangle of hair escaping from under his old battered cap with its tarnished trim. Color of his beard: sauerkraut, slightly rotten sauerkraut.

> I’m overwhelmed with horror at what we have done with our torpedoes. Delayed reaction. One stab at the firing lever! I close my eyes to blot out the haunting visions, but I continue to see the sea of flames spreading out over the water and men swimming for their lives.

> At great depths the pressure of the water reduces the actual volume of the boat. Hence the boat gains excess weight compared to the water it displaces. So the more we are compressed, the heavier we get. ( )
  breic | May 30, 2022 |
Lothar-Günther Buchheim schildert die Erlebnisse eines deutschen U-Boots, dass 1941 im Atlantik auf Feindfahrt geht. Der Autor war im zweiten Weltkrieg als Kriegsberichterstatter selbst an Bord verschiedener U-Boote, der Roman ist daher stark autobiographisch und an echte Kriegsgeschehnisse angelehnt.

Buchheim gelingt es sehr gut, die Stimmungslage an Bord eines U-Boots einzufangen. Sehr gut vermittelt er die beklemmende Enge und die Angst der Männer. Doch auch das komplizierte Beziehungsgeflecht der Besatzung und die quälende Untätigkeit abseits der U-Boot-Jagden, von Buchheim als "Gammelei" bezeichnet, wird realistisch geschildert. Alles in allem liefert Buchheim ein authentisches, fast schon dokumentarisches Werk.

Der Roman ist nüchtern verfasst und ist phasenweise, trotz sehr dramatischen Inhalts etwas langatmig. Negativ hinzu kommt, dass Buchheim eine Vielzahl von Seemannsausdrücken, regionaler Idiome, Slangausdrücken und militärischen und technischen Abkürzungen verwendet, sodass der Roman streckenweise sehr schwer lesbar ist. Vollkommen unzureichend ist in diesem Zusammenhang das im Buch enthaltene Glossar. ( )
  schmechi | Jan 7, 2021 |
Vivid and occasionally over the top but likely a good reflection of life in a UBoat. ( )
  jamespurcell | Sep 26, 2020 |
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Filled with almost unbearable tension and excitement, DAS BOOT is one of the best stories ever written about war, a supreme novel of the Second World War and an acclaimed film and TV drama. It is autumn 1941 and a German U-boat commander and his crew set out on yet another hazardous patrol in the Battle of the Atlantic. Over the coming weeks they must brave the stormy waters of the Atlantic in their mission to seek out and destroy British supply ships. But the tide is beginning to turn against the Germans in the war for the North Atlantic. Their targets now travel in convoys, fiercely guarded by Royal Navy destroyers, and when contact is finally made the hunters rapidly become the hunted. As the U-boat is forced to hide beneath the surface of the sea a cat-and-mouse game begins, where the increasing claustrophobia of the submarine becomes an enemy just as frightening as the depth charges that explode around it. Of the 40,000 men who served on German submarines, 30,000 never returned. Written by a survivor of the U-boat fleet, DAS BOOT is a psychological drama merciless in its intensity, and a classic novel of the Second World War.

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